Monday, December 28, 2009

• Napolitano – Incompetence In Ascendance

When a CEO fumbles and stumbles repeatedly, then demonstrates incompetence, the company’s Board takes remedial action, and if it doesn’t, the shareholders get vocal with their votes. When the head of Homeland Security repeatedly demonstrates an inability to manage, as well as a peculiar ignorance of either mundane or critical facts, does she get sidelined? Not in this Administration.

Janet Napolitano said on CNN's State of the Union, "One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked." After the Nation had a head-shake wondering what planet she was talking from, she then said on Monday, "No secretary of homeland security would sit here and say that a system worked prior to this incident which allowed this individual to get on this plane.”

This is the same Napolitano who in April of this year, shortly after taking office, demonstrated an uncommon knowledge of geography, international affairs and of recent history, with a claim that the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States through Canada. What a great opening statement for a New Administration to make toward its biggest trading partner, and supplier of the majority of its energy needs.

This former Arizona Governor is a self-proclaimed road safety expert because she thought that she could put a dent in the Arizona deficit by installing a photo speed enforcement program. The fact that the systems don’t even pay for themselves, much less bring in tax dollars, escaped her notice, and she went to Washington before the evidence of her mistake came to the fore.

On the list of all services a government provides its population, Security is first and foremost. The position of Secretary of Homeland Security is one that should be filled with an individual who is Ready, Willing and most importantly, Capable, of fulfilling the demands of this most critical post. This administration has deemed that security and terrorism are almost inconsequent concerns of American taxpayers, since it has attached such an inconsequential individual to manage the department. Fortunately, courageous passengers who demonstrated swift presence of mind and effective action trumped the serious breach in National security that resulted from the mismanagement.

One Canadian newspaper in April 2009 asked, in reference to Napolitano, “Can someone please tell us how she got her job?” The question today should be asked of the President, “How can someone this incompetent retain her job, and why has the task become so unimportant?”

Well, while we're asking questions, there's one more question that absolutely must be asked, "Can anyone from this Administration deliver common sense and coherent commentary without a teleprompter?"

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Friday, December 18, 2009

• Tiger Woods – The Hazards Of Assumptions

The floodgates on Tiger Woods news opened and cannot be closed, as he remains the biggest story in all media. Notoriety and cash seeking alleged girlfriends surface by the hour, and rare factual tidbits eek out, tantalizing our celebrity obsessions with a daily fix. Are we actually learning anything from the circus that has become Tiger’s life?

To fuel the frenzy, as if that was needed, Associated Press assigned Woods the title of Athlete Of The Decade. This may simply be an attempt to confuse us at to what constitutes either a “sport,” or an “athlete.” Did Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Ronaldinho and Michael Schumacher not demonstrate enough dominance in their “game,” or sufficient superiority of character? Probably, but this isn’t about athleticism.

Woods has dominated Golf, and that undeniable fact has brought him acclaim which in turn has imposed the weight of $100 million in annual endorsements onto his life. The current meaning of endorsement is, “pretend you like our products so that those who idolize you will believe you enough to buy them. Your brilliance on the golf course means you are an upstanding, honorable and respected character. Your word is gold.” Well-crafted endorsements are swarmed by expectations, and tinged by assumptions.

The public assumes that if you are supremely great on the golf course, you must also be gifted with other assets such as intelligence, grace, maybe even a little common sense. No chance that you might be narcissistic or self absorbed, and no chance that you believe your own press. Yet, your biggest challenge is your own ego. It is that Achilles heel that will be exploited by your handlers. Whether or not this is Tiger’s problem, his current state of affairs suggests that he should be more attentive to his hired help. Some of his handlers may not be in his camp and more than a few might truly not wish him well. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that the public will soon be pandered with the required dose of apologetic “addiction” treatment, and sorrowful wistfulness of divorce proceedings as we witness “damage” control. His family, his children, don’t deserve the kind of exposure they will have to endure as they prevail over their uncertain emotional road ahead.

So where does that leave his sponsors? Unfortunately, what we have so far witnessed is not terribly encouraging. Knight, of Nike, has said, "When his career is over, you'll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now." This is not what anyone should expect from the head of major company. No need to analyze the inanity of this perception since there is little ambiguity in the obvious.

We cannot assume that because someone is the CEO of a company, that the position automatically imbues the occupant with wisdom, principles, ethics, or morals. We can hope, but that would be foolish. The insecure egos running some of our Wall Street financial institutions are currently providing ample evidence that such assumptions can be misplaced – and therein lies a lesson on making assumptions about power, wealth and celebrity.

We are also being reminded that we are in charge of our perceptions. We are in control of what we accept, or normalize as appropriate behavior. While we may not be in absolute control of the appropriateness of everything our children are exposed to, we have influence on what we embrace as the mores that will colonize our own lives and theirs.

Regardless what our mainstream media, or the corporate landscape has decided “sells,” wealth and celebrity are not anointments of “right.” The implosion of Tiger’s familial career reminds us that we should be very discriminate in the broader conditioning to which we accede on our percepts. We should unambiguously guard the nature and the influences that we affirm on behaviors – ours and those of our children. The Nikes and Tigers we venerate cannot do that for us.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

• Not Overheard In Copenhagen . . .

As the deceit of the limo-jet-caviar congestion of Copenhagen grinds that city into the forefront of an international tragedy, there will be no mention of humanity’s biggest challenge. Political correctness amongst the 15,000 attendees and the attendant fawning media will ignore the irony of this self-serving and bloated spectacle. They will be excused their extravagance and their obscene carbon footprint, culminated with the arrival of President Obama on Air Force One, and his unsparing entourage. Economic forces along with the political correctness will prevent discussion on the root cause of stress on the earth’s oceans, air, forests, rivers, and lakes. No one in Copenhagen will breathe a word about the world’s population.

The Copenhagen conference is a United Nations gambit using fear of global warming as the apocalyptic Armageddon that will squeeze hundreds of billions of dollars from the United States and Canada, and will redistribute the cash as it sees fit. Copenhagen is not a conference intended to clean up our environment.

Obviously all third world countries run by dictators, as well as the very few who aren’t, will clamor for consensus. Why wouldn’t they? More cash means more Bentleys and Escalades, another mansion or two, as well as a shipload of arms to maintain power. When you don’t care about your own people, but strive to retain absolute power over them with brute force, the least of your concerns is a distraction from foreign fanatics with a cause, but if it’s going to fill your coffers, . . . bring it on. Countries such as China and Russia with a wink and a nod will continue on course, unrattled or swayed by anything the international community has to say, yet surprisingly, they are the only two who’s populations are shrinking.

The only world leader who seems to have kept his wits about him is Canada’s Steven Harper. He is the only leader who has remained cool to jumping onto the Copenhagen climate change boondoggle. He appears to be the only one cognizant of the fact that Copenhagen will not clean up the air, and will only drag his taxpayers into deeper taxation. Obama, on the other hand seems oblivious. Obama’s Cap And Trade program should remain right where it is, … nowhere, and taxpayers should remain skeptical, unlike too many scientists who appear to be closing the books on the supposedly “settled science” of climate change. Absolute certainty, . . . um, is that another term for scientific stupidity? Does that not grate on the “scientific method?” Is this an example of progress toward truth?

Attention should be brought to addressing the world’s continuing population explosion. The Earth’s population has now crossed over 6.8 billion, rapidly getting to 7 billion in 2011. Let’s note that there were only 2.5 billion of us in 1950.

It is reasonable for each individual to have the right to enjoy a positive and fruitful life. Unfortunately, there is a reality that comes with each life here on Earth - each of us requires sustenance and each of us “processes” more or less of the abundance nature makes available. There is only so much we can process in the aggregate before nature’s support system stresses beyond its ability to sustain our needs, never mind our wants. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is one of thousands of examples around the globe of the overburden we have imposed. Technology does not hold the magical answer to sustenance for our ever-burgeoning numbers, and technology will not bring an end to our abundant polluting. Even if we all lived in an Amazon of windmill trees, we would still choke the life out of nature around us.

Beyond the domain of political correctness, lives the game of economics, and the simple fact that the greater the number of people, the more there are consumers. Consumption supplies the fuel for economic growth - growth in products, goods, services and above all growth in the money supply. Growth in global population accelerates the concentration of wealth at the top of the economic food chain. Don’t expect the political or economic leadership to touch the population concern.

The only answer lies in the dissemination of as much education as possible, which will bring positive affect so that a bigger percentage of the earth’s population can exist beyond just the daily struggle to minimally survive. We should call for a World Population Conference, instead of a Copenhagen Climate Change conference, to be convened within a couple of years before the population trend irreversibly crashes into the brick wall of ignorance.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

• Transforming Perceptions Of Reality

We have entered a new phase of reality distortion as negative events become positive in their reporting. Truth is being transformed. I don’t refer here to politicians lying about the state of affairs to promote a self serving scheme or other. I refer to the mainstream media and its warped reporting of the reality its audience lives through each day.

Perhaps we subconsciously need the adulteration of our realities, converting them into distracting wishful deceptions. Is there a chance that the effect is dispersing our anxieties? With so many directly affected by a burst-mortgage-bubble recession, positive spins are readily accepted. How else can one explain an acceptance, with all associated relief, of continuing increases in unemployment numbers? Is it because the totals are not as bad as had been expected? How did it make any sense that the financial institutions most responsible for the current state of economic affairs became the too-big-to-fail partners of government? Is there any doubt that Wall Street controls the agenda?

Why is it good news that government has insinuated itself into the heart of American industry while permanently bolstering union influence over the management of companies like GM? Has something new been introduced into the concept of socializing industry? Did Soviet Russia not prove beyond any doubt that government-in-charge doesn’t work? The current version of hope-and-change appears to simply mean Big Government.

Is it really good news that the health care industry is heading irreversibly toward a day when it will be a government run business? Were there not alternative strategies available to seriously improve the state of health care including those discussed here: Health Care - What You Are Not Hearing? But wait, there’s more good news coming, and please ignore the $12 trillion U.S. national debt almost equaling the Nation's GDP, since it only amounts to $111,000 per taxpayer. It is apparently great news that this amount is minor when compared to the funds “committed” to health care and pensions that the Baby Boomer generation is fully expecting just around the corner.

When a President professes concern about deficits, but supports unprecedented spending programs sending the Country into out-of-control deficits and debt, the headlines read, “good news,” because he doesn't really want to do it, but he has to. The media sells us the gossamer subtlety of "intent," to promote acceptability of truth distortion. The fawning mainstream media is doing its best to channel public consciousness down the feel good road.

Look for more government stimulus money to be added to the already pegged $787 billion stimulus, much of which has been allocated to prominent Democratic districts. Over two thirds of the money is still awaiting distribution, obviously being held back for release at the most propitious time in order to achieve maximum influence on upcoming elections.

Fear has been very effectively used through the past few years by government to gain support for the implementation of decisions that might not have easily floated over the electorate otherwise. Positive spin has worked the fear, and converted absurd policies into amplified and satisfying rays of hope.

If the main stream media continues its persistent misrepresentations of the truth, hope will disintegrate completely as new intractable realities insinuate themselves permanently into the economic and social landscape. Taxpayers deserve better from their Fourth Estate and from their politicians. If this transformation of perceptions doesn’t end soon, the result will be an irreversible transformation of America.

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